Event Coverage: 2016 Indianapolis 500 Presented by PennGrade Oil
So this is it. The big one. This is the race the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been hyping for almost a decade. Centennial celebrations started in 2009 with the 100th birthday of the fabled track itself. They continued into 2011 when the race celebrated its 100th anniversary. And the hype has been building to this race: the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. Leave it to a race promoter to celebrate a special date for 7 years.
It is true the Indy 500 is not what it once was. Crowds have shrunk. Sponsors have left in droves. The original proving grounds has been a bit of a farce ever since every car was powered by a standard sized engine and a near identical chassis (for the record, I am referring to the CART days when all the cars had 2.65L V8s and the Lolas, Reynards, and Penske chassis were indistinguishable without their liveries). The winning car has not been a major headline since 1994 when Roger Penske snuck in a monster pushrod-based engine that trounced the field. No, today, the Indy 500 is about building drivers. Those who win the 500 becomes instant legends. A multi-million dollar paycheck, a wreath, a kiss of the bricks, and your face immortalized on an all silver trophy. This is the myth of the Indy 500. And on May 29, 2016, it ran for the 100th time to a record breaking crowd. Never before has IMS sold every single seat AND grounds ticket to this race. It was destined to be a race filled with compelling stories, many of which we discussed in our qualifying coverage: The race itself did not disappoint.
There is a lot on the line here, not only for the drivers, but for the IndyCar Series and its owner, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. With a good 500 and an amazing race, this is Indy's big chance to shine once again. I'm happy to say that the race absolutely delivered and it was most definitely in the top 5 500s ever. We're going to switch things up a bit and tell you who won right away because how he pulled it off is absolutely amazing. While it's been four days I guess SPOILER ALERTS still may apply.